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28 June 2013 @ 09:36 am
Fanfiction: The Empty House  
Title: The Empty House
Author: aragarna
Genre, rating: canon, possible missing scene, gen, g.
Characters: June, Peter
Warnings: none
Spoilers: 3x16
word count: 1500
Beta: Many thanks to the wonderful winterstar95

Summary: Neal just cut his anklet, leaving June in an empty house.
Author's Note: This is for the [community profile] month_of_june. Title borrowed from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the famous story where his hero returns.
Additional note at the end.

The Empty House

When she heard the doorbell she rushed to the door, her heart filled with anticipation and hope. But it was not Neal who was at the door. It was a Marshal, one of those damn Marshals, with his Marshal windbreaker and stern Marshal look. He was followed by half a dozen clones. The first one of them, whom she recognized as the one in charge of Neal’s release, approached her with a contrite smile and gave her a tip from an imaginary hat as a salute.

June felt her heart sank inside her chest and hope was replaced with apprehension. This was not what she expected at all.

“Sorry to bother you, once again, Ma’am,” the Marshal said as he presented her a search warrant. “It seems like Neal Caffrey cut his anklet. Again.”

She didn’t like the way he emphasized that last word. Again.

“This doesn’t make any sense,” she protested, “Neal is at his hearing.” But she had no other choice than letting them run upstairs, process Neal’s room, and basically through everything upside down. She forced a warm smile she didn’t mean at all and gestured to the Marshal he could go upstairs. Not that the others had waited her agreement to proceed. They knew the drill…

June followed them upstairs. She wanted to keep an eye on them. There was not much she could do to protect Neal, but at least she could make sure to protect his properties – and hers!

As she crossed the threshold and entered Neal’s room, she couldn’t help but notice the anklet sitting in the middle of the table, its red light blinking, unfazed. She brought her hand to her chest to steady her heart. Neal did run.

A part of her refused to believe it. Neal wouldn’t do that. Not now, when he was so close to freedom, real freedom. June knew how much that hearing meant to Neal, despite the young man’s attempt to hide it behind a casual wave. Neal would never do anything to jeopardize his chance, and certainly not something as stupid as cutting his anklet two hours before the verdict. And yet, here it was the anklet, on the table.

A noise coming from the large bookshelf brought her back to more material considerations. She spotted a Marshal picking up from the floor a couple of books he had undoubtedly dropped. He glanced sideways at her, a little wary and their eyes met. June made sure to concentrate all her hate and disdain her glance and the vision of the young Marshal literally decomposing in front of her brought her a slice of satisfaction.

Heartbroken, she looked at those men in uniforms, taking apart every bit of Neal’s apartment, looking for pieces of evidence and hints of leads. They opened the drawers, spilling out their content, they lifted every carpet, looked behind every painting, inside every books, even in the fridge, leaving everything disordered.

At one point, a female Marshall approached her and took her statement. No, she hadn’t seen Neal leave the mansion. She was at the hearing giving her own testimony. No, Neal didn’t talk about running. Actually he was pretty determined to stay. Yes, she’ll let them know if he contacted her. Or so she said.

Later, Peter’s familiar figure materialized in the doorway. Judging by the severe expression showing on his face, he already knew. What June couldn’t tell was how Peter felt about it. He greeted her with his usual cordiality, but she could tell his heart wasn’t at it. He had a heated conversation on the balcony with the lead Marshal and she tried to read Peter’s body language through the French window. Standing tall, hands on hips, lips tightly closed, he was definitely angry.

Peter came back inside, and stood beside June until the last Marshal clone disappeared down the staircase, anklet bagged, leaving them alone in the empty and chaotic apartment. June hadn’t dared ask any question in front of all those unfriendly intruders. But now, she didn’t know how to ask. Obviously, something had happened. Something serious enough that Neal cut his anklet. Was it about the hearing? Would it dig another rift between the two partners and friends? Neal and Peter’s relationship had seemed to get stronger over the last months’ events, so why on Earth would Neal run? June couldn’t think of any possible reason that would make Neal run away from his friend.

June felt apprehension compressing her chest as thoughts ran through her mind. Could Peter have done something so terribly wrong that it would have convinced Neal to give up everything he had built here?

Anxious, June watched the agent standing in the middle of the room, his hands still on his hips, distractly looking at the mess surrounding him.

“Peter,” June said. “You know Neal wouldn’t run without a good reason.” It came out harsher than she intended, but she couldn’t help feeling defensive of her young friend.

Peter turned around to face her. She braced herself, ready to counter all his arguments against Neal. But what she saw in Peter’s eyes caught her breath. There was no more anger. Only pain and sorrow. A sad smile appeared on his lips as he tilted his head.

“I know,” he said softly.

All of a sudden, it became clear. Whatever happened, Neal had Peter’s consent. Neal wouldn’t have run otherwise. Peter took a chair from the table, turned it around and sat backward, arms crossed on the back of the chair.

“What happened?” June asked quietly.

Peter sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Kramer happened,” he stated darkly.

June frowned. If she remembered correctly, Kramer was an agent from DC, who was first around to solve some business about the U-boat treasure, and was now back to make a report at the hearing. But June also remembered Neal mentioning Kramer was a friend of Peter’s. Wasn’t he his mentor at one point?

Peter didn’t seem inclined to elaborate at the moment though. The wound was too fresh. Instead, he stood up and, approaching the bookshelves, he started picking things from the floor and putting them back in their original place. Their exact original place, June noted.

“You’ve got quite a memory, Peter,” she said with a smile, pointing to the old candle lamp Peter had just moved back to its right spot on a shelf.

Peter smiled. “It comes with the job. And I’ve been here quite a few times myself.” He made a circular gesture toward the room. “I’m very sorry about that mess, June.”

June came close to Peter and put a comforting hand on his arm. “It’s okay, Peter. They had a job to do.”

“Even though you and I both knew there wouldn’t be anything to find here.” Peter gave her a wink.

“Neal’s too smart for that,” she agreed.

A shadow quickly passed over Peter’s face.

June started sorting things herself. With Peter’s help, they made the bed. She could just call the maid, Peter didn’t even have to do this. But she wanted to, and it seemed to be Peter’s desire as well. A way to sort things out, tidy the mess.

They fell silent, tidying the room together, aching hearts finding comfort in the other’s presence, keeping their bodies busy to prevent their minds from thinking about their common loss.

Finally, every piece of the apartment and Neal’s belongings were back in their proper place.

“Will he come back?” June asked, at last.

“I’ll work on that, yes… It might take a while though,” Peter sighed. “Don’t expect him too soon…”

June echoed the sight. “Maybe we should cover the furniture, then? There are large sheets at the bottom of Neal’s closet.”

Peter retrieved the sheets from the closet and they covered the bed, the sofa, the table, the television set, the coffee table. The little apartment seemed even emptier, hollow, this way. June reminded herself it was just waiting for its rightful occupant to come back. She’d hold onto hope .

“Do you mind if I just hang around a little?” Peter suddenly asked, looking somewhat embarrassed. June, on the contrary couldn’t wait to get out of this gloomy and empty room. But she understood.

“Of course. Stay here as long as you need. I’ll be downstairs.”

When Peter finally came down to say good bye, June noticed his brooding look was gone, replaced by a resolute one.

She accompanied him to the threshold of the mansion.

“I highly doubt it, but if by any chance you hear from him, or Mozzie, let me know.”

“Count on me Peter.”

“And no one else.”

June smiled. “That goes without saying.”

 He gave her a warm and strong hug. “And if you want to talk, or if you need anything – anything at all – El and I, we’re still here.”

“Thank you, Peter. And likewise, my door remains open for you, anytime.”

“Bye, June.”

“Bring Neal back home.”

Peter sent her a warm and intense look. “I will.” And she knew he would.

The End.

Author's Note 2: It's been brought to my attention that there has been at least one similar story to this one: Where the World is Cold. All similarities are purely coincidencial, but go and check that other one, it's probably better than mine. And I also remember another nice story I read last year, where June let Peter in a couple of time, but I can't remember the title, nor the author. So my apologize to you, dear author.

kanarek13kanarek13 on June 28th, 2013 07:47 am (UTC)
Awww, this is really great, I can totally see this happening like this \o/ Also, it is never a bad thing to have a few stories dealing with the same situation, it only gives us readers a chance to explore different views :D

Hey, you're on a roll! Love it :D
aragarna: Peter and Nealaragarna on June 28th, 2013 08:01 am (UTC)
thanks ! :-)

Yes I am, and I've even found something to write for the Peter whump day... ;-)
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Peter smilingsholio on June 28th, 2013 08:08 am (UTC)
Awwww, this is a very nice missing scene. I love Peter helping June put the destroyed apartment back in order; it seems like something he'd do!
aragarna: Peter seriousaragarna on June 28th, 2013 08:39 am (UTC)
thank you ! :-)
nieseryjnanieseryjna on June 28th, 2013 08:58 am (UTC)
Lovely, I think that Peter helping June to clean it all up is the best version so far.
aragarna: Peter and Neal 2aragarna on June 28th, 2013 09:02 am (UTC)
oh thank you !! :-)
dennih23: countermeasuresdennih23 on June 28th, 2013 09:35 am (UTC)
Awwww – this is very nice. I like the friendship that Peter and June have developed. Both would definitely be missing Neal and want what is best for him.
aragarnaaragarna on June 28th, 2013 10:12 am (UTC)
:-) thank you ! :-)
pipiljpipilj on June 28th, 2013 10:22 am (UTC)
Lovely missing scene. It is rare to see a story with June and Peter.
aragarnaaragarna on June 28th, 2013 10:30 am (UTC)
:-) thank you ! It's also too rare in the series !
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: White Collar - June & Mozzieembroiderama on June 28th, 2013 12:11 pm (UTC)
I love June's POV here, including the way she gets that Peter told him to run.
aragarna: hugaragarna on June 28th, 2013 12:23 pm (UTC)
thank you :-)
leesa_perrie: June Ellington 1leesa_perrie on June 28th, 2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
This was great and so them, loved it.
aragarnaaragarna on June 28th, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
thank you ! :-)
Frith: White Collar - Diana - coatfrith_in_thorns on June 28th, 2013 01:16 pm (UTC)
This is very lovely, and I especially liked Peter helping June tidy up the damage the marshalls caused :)
aragarnaaragarna on June 28th, 2013 01:34 pm (UTC)
thanks ! :-)
sapphire2309: Petersapphire2309 on June 28th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
I love that they fix his room themselves, and put everything exactly where it was.
I feel like Marshals all over the White Collar fandom are resigned to be cast in the role of villain, because all of us love Neal so much :)
Beautiful fic.
aragarna: Peter promo 2aragarna on June 28th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC)
thank you !

ah ah, I love that in TV series, the "other" Law Enforcement group(s) are always the bad guys or are incompetent. ;-)
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Peter with gunsholio on June 28th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
bwahaha, I just happened to see this comment and this is SO TRUE. :D It's something I was noticing in particular when I was watching Justified, because I'm so used to White Collar now, but in that show the Marshals are the main characters, and the FBI is full of bureaucratic idiots. :D
aragarnaaragarna on June 28th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
Yes exactlt :-) I think it was in NCIS and Castle (where they're NYPD) that made me realize that, because they're always pissed with the FBI trying to take over their investigations. ;-)
The Gauche in the Machine: WC June - wistfulchina_shop on June 28th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
Aw, this is just lovely! *smishes them both so much*

I'll post a link to the month_of_june comm. \o/
aragarna: Peter and Nealaragarna on June 29th, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
thank you !!

awesome, thanks!
Lutra Chaiteaotter on June 29th, 2013 01:29 am (UTC)
I can easily see this happening, though we didn't get to see it in the show.
aragarna: Nealaragarna on June 29th, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
thanks :-)
lov_pblov_pb on June 29th, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for filling in a missing scene with tenderness and warmth. Very nice!
aragarna: Peter smile 1aragarna on June 29th, 2013 07:04 am (UTC)
thank you ! :-)
daria234daria234 on June 29th, 2013 05:40 am (UTC)
This is great - so ic and completely likely in the show. Love Peter putting everything back in the right place and June noticing everything.
aragarna: Peter and Neal 2aragarna on June 29th, 2013 07:04 am (UTC)
:-) thank you !!
hurinhousehurinhouse on June 30th, 2013 04:57 am (UTC)
june. neal really is a long lost son so I can imagine how much this hurts her. and peter. the best part was them putting everything to rights at the end. so realistic.
aragarna: Peter and Neal 2aragarna on July 1st, 2013 09:22 am (UTC)
thank you ! :-)
Treontreonb on June 30th, 2013 11:20 am (UTC)
This is really beautiful, and I love the quiet understanding between June and Peter.
aragarna: hugaragarna on July 1st, 2013 09:22 am (UTC)
thank you ! :-)
scarym1scarym1 on June 30th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
I really liked this conversation between Peter & June. That she knows without Peter saying anything that Neal ran with his consent. I can just picture Peter helping June tidy up the mess that the marshal's left behind. : )

aragarna: Peter and Neal 2aragarna on July 1st, 2013 09:25 am (UTC)
thank you !! :-)

Yes, I'm sure for a lot of people it became quickly obvious Neal ran with Peter's consent, because Peter wasn't angry about it, and on the contrary was willing to fix it.
sanuye12sanuye12 on July 1st, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Very nice, Ara. We definitely need more Peter and June stories out there. Plus, straightening out Neal's apartment together is just perfectly in character.
aragarna: Peter laughsaragarna on July 2nd, 2013 08:25 am (UTC)
thank you ! :-)
semisweetsoul: Nealsemisweetsoul on July 5th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
It didn't even occur to me the Marshalls would come and search Neal's apartment.

This is so moving. Peter and June sharing their loss. I love the idea of Peter's attention for details, and them covering the furniture for when Neal will come back. Not only do they want him to come back to them, but in house arrest and not prison. They have so much faith!

Also, this story gave me an idea! Love when others' works do that. Thanks for sharing!
aragarna: badass Peteraragarna on July 6th, 2013 09:35 am (UTC)
thank you for your kind comment. :-)
Of course they have faith ! ;-)

Let me know if your idea ends up in a fic ! Would love to know what I inspired you ! :-)
eldoraheldorah on July 24th, 2014 05:16 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet and so realistic!! I loved it! :)
aragarna: Peter b&waragarna on July 25th, 2014 08:24 am (UTC)
Thank you! ♥
caseyf123 on July 26th, 2014 07:22 am (UTC)
Don't know how I missed this. It was wonderful. I do so love Neal and June's relationship.
aragarna: Nealaragarna on July 26th, 2014 08:16 am (UTC)
Thank you! :-)